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tv   Way Too Early With Willie Geist  MSNBC  April 19, 2011 5:30am-6:00am EDT

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minutes" piece that shredded the credibility of his monster best seller. the question is if the guy is still doing good and building schools for girls in afghanistan, do you care that he embellished his story just a little bit? it's way too early for this. good morning. i'm willie geist, and this is "way too early," the show that's embellished most of the stories you're about to hear. at least we're up front about it. i'm glad you're up this morning watching on msnbc or listening live on sirius xm radio. shoot me an e-mail and let me know what you're doing up at this hour. or you can do what greg mortensen does and text the word "awake" to 622639. tuesday, april 19th, a lot to tell you about today, including the pentagon's final report on general stanley mcchrystal and that rolling stone report that
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cost him his job. plus residents continue cleanup after a cluster devastates the state and more to come. we'll have a weather report from bill karins. first, let's get to the news at 5:30 a.m. here at 30 rock in new york city. the rating agency standard & poor's warns the united states government is risking its prize aaa credit rating unless it takes steps to cut the nation's nearly $14.3 trillion debt. for the first time yesterday, s&p lowered its long-term outlook for the u.s. from stable to negative, sending stocks into a bit of a tail spin for a short time. the change means the agency believes there is a 1 in 3 chance now that it will downgrade america's credit rating in the next two years. the outlook also has concerns that the u.s. is projected to v. a debt equal to 10.8% of the gdp this year. that's the biggest percentage among advanced countries. the finding comes as president obama plans to travel to virginia to sell his new deficit
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reduction plan. yesterday white house press secretary jay carney down played the significance of the credit agency's decision. >> the s&p affirmed the aaa bond rating of the united states but emphasized the importance of timely bipartisan cooperation and action on fiscal reform. we think the political process will outperform s&p expectations. the fact is, when the issues are important, history shows that both sides can come together and get things done. >> council of economic advisers chair austan goolsbee was more critical of the report, saying politics played a role in the s&p's outlook. >> the only uncertainty that the s&p folks are expressing is that they're coming down on the opposite side of moody's in some sense, is that they don't think that, despite the president and republicans being close to a number and agreeing there ought to be substantial improvements
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in our fiscal position long term, that they have concerns whether they can actually get it done. what the s&p is doing is making a political judgment, and it's one that we don't agree with. >> this is, of course, is the front page of the "financial times." s&p sounds alarm on u.s. debt. let's hear more how the two sides are spinning this story. up on capitol hill, politicians on both sides of the aisle said the change bolstered their arguments on tackling the nation's debt. in a statement, house majority leader eric cantore said, "serious reforms are needed to ensure america's fiscal health, and today s&p sent a wake-up call to those in washington asking congress to blindly increase the debt limit. for decades, washington has blindly increase ds the debt limit while doing little to stop spepding money that it doesn't have, a dangerous pattern that must end. kwlt on the democratic side, peter
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welch said of republicans, "i hope majority leader cantor and those in congress seizing upon debt ceiling pressure as a leverage opportunity are listening to the markets today and thinking twice about their risky strategy. the markets have doubts about america's ability to get its fiscal house in order, and they're right. if mr. cantor persists in playing politics, with the debt limit, he will be held accountable for unleashing the financial hounds of hell." what does it mean the u.s. government has had its outlook dropped by a major ratings agency? cnbc's steve sedgwick is live to explain. good morning, steve. >> good morning, willie. at the moment, it doesn't mean an awful lot. a lot of people are saying, it's a shot across the bows, hopefully galvanizing opinion and getting the politicians working on a common number and enacting the plan. the problem is it's been seen really in europe, if you don't act and act swiftly and seem to be succeeding in your plan to get the debt down, the rate you pay over the longer term goes up.
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this is what we've seen in spain, in portugal, in greece, and ireland and elsewhere. no one is saying the u.s. is anywhere near that stage at the moment. with the kind of numbers you were talking about earlier, a deficit of nearly 11% this year, debt to gdp ratio, let's get this together and not be a drag on the markets so people can get their confidence back again in the u.s. bond market. let's face it. as long as the treasury is buying on qe2, that's okay. but major international buyers, are they going to want to buy u.s. debt over the long term unless we get a handle on this issue? s&p firing that shot across the bows. >> steve, thanks so much. as you say, the real warning coming on the credit rating. if that goes below aaa, we've got a problem. president obama apparently turning to his second in command to deal with congress on his debt reduction plan. the white house says vice president joe biden will host deficit talks with legislative leaders early next month when congress returns from its spring
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recess. in addition, an administration official says biden has been tapped to find votes on raising the nation's debt ceiling. meanwhile, the president is reaching out to voters in likely 2012 swing states by discussing his deficit plan with affiliates in denver, raleigh, dallas, and indianapolis. here he is talking to a local cbs reporter in north carolina. >> we've got to make sure we're living within our means, both medium term and long term. there's a way of doing it where we cut about $2 trillion worth of spending, that we raise about $1 trillion worth of revenue, mainly from folks like myself who can afford to pay a little bit more. we're also going to have to make sure we continue to drive down health care costs in medicare and medicaid. >> back at the white house, jay carney denied the president's local television push has any electoral motives. >> it would make our jobs a lot easier if these were the days when a vast majority of the american audience tuned into walter cronkite at night, and we could just talk to uncle walter
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and get our message out there. that's just not the case anymore. it's a mix of traditional media, new media, national media, regional media because that's -- you've got to reach americans where they are. >> carney's comments come as new numbers indicate the economy is hurting the president. a "washington post"/abc poll says 50% of americans now disapprove of the job the president is doing. when it comes to the handling of the economy, his disapproval jumps to 57%, 42% approving there. the head of nato's military operations in libya is accusing forces loyal to moammar gadhafi of firing on civilians from the roofs of mosques in the city of misrata. residents have been under siege for nearly two months, and evacuees say conditions are becoming increasingly desperate. one human rights group says at least 267 people have been killed. it comes after the u.n.'s humanitarian chief said the government had promised access
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to misrata but no guarantee the assault by gadhafi's forces would end when they do. in other news around the nation, security forces in syria reportedly firing tear gas and live ammunition at anti-government protesters who took over a main square in the country's third largest city. the crowd had met to protest a deadly crackdown by the government on saturday. human rights groups say at least 200 people have been killed in the past month inside syria. meanwhile, in a blow to yemen's leader, officials who defected from the ruling party have formed a new party, supporting protests and calling for the ouster of president ali abdullah salei. an inquiry into the former top commander in afghanistan has cleared him of wrongdoing. general stanley mcchrystal resigned from his post last june after a bombshell "rolling stone" article first revealed on "way too early" and "morning joe" with insubordination by
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mcchrystal. there is too little evidence to show he violated the defense department's standards and is calling into accuracy some of the "rolling stone" reporting. last week first lady obama supported mcchrystal, who was named co-chair for a council on american military families. >> he is the best choice. we wanted to find someone who had the respect of the community, and he does, who understands the issues, and he does. general mcchrystal has served this country well. he knows these issues, and we're proud to have him on board. >> "rolling stone" magazine issued a statement yesterday saying it stands behind its story. the federal aviation administration is dealing with yet another incident involving an air traffic controller. this time a controller in ohio has been suspended for watching a movie on the job. the faa says the cleveland radar facility became aware of the incident after the controller's
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microphone was accidentally flipped on, allowing the samuel l. jackson thriller "cleaner" to be transmitted to planes in the area. so he was watching it in the tower, hit the wrong switch. all the planes in the air had to listen to the "cleaner." the controller's manager also has been suspended. the incident follows at least six cases of controllers falling asleep on duty since last month. donald trump is doing yet another round of interviews, you'll be surprised to hear, as speculation grows over his prospects as a presidential candidate in 2012. trump sat down for an interview with my good friend savannah guthrie, discussing everything from china to birthers to his personal wealth. interesting moment here when trump came under fire from savannah. she pressed him about his net worth. >> you talked a lot about your net worth. how successful you've been and that, when you do disclose your finances, we'll all be amazed.
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>> i think you'll be very surprised. forbes says $2.7 billion. it's much higher an that. >> why stand on ceremony? why not release them now? >> it's said first awe nouns and within 30 days you have to give your -- >> voluntarily, you can do it? >> i'm going to announce it first. you're allowed 30 days, but they give you a 60-day extension. i don't need an extension. on that i'm already working. i built a fantastic company with a fantastic worth, and the fact is this country needs somebody that can do a great job. >> the rest of that interview will air later this morning on nbc's "today" show. savannah also will be on "morning joe" later this morning to discuss that. still ahead on "way too early," say it with me. derrick rose is the mvp of the nba. the bulls point guard puts on another show for the young team that may be the best in the league. plus the controversy that has wine soaked book clubs reeling across the united states. did the author of the big best seller "three cups of tea" make up some of the story that
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inspired so many people? we'll get his response and a check on weather. the explosion in lrbg's capital city came without warning at 9:00 central time this morning, stunning a wide area with a ferocious blast. it left a 20-foot crater. the large alfred murrah federal building crumbled, sending an untold number to their deaths.
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with just one pill a day, you get 24-hour heartburn protection all day and all night. prilosec otc. heartburn gone. power on. 5:45 in the morning. a beautiful live picture of the jefferson memorial in washington. let's get a check on weather from nbc meteorologist bill karins. hello, bill. >> welcome back. >> thanks, bill. >> do i need to address you differently now that your dad's got the star. >> it ain't me. i'm the same old schlub.
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my dad, you have to give a measure of respect. rose petals. let's talk about the weather. it's very active today. bring your umbrella all the way from boston to philadelphia. you won't open it up until this afternoon. this morning is dry. this afternoon the clouds increase and rain will move in. maybe even heavy rain with that. this is a big powerful storm in the middle of the country. severe outbreak is likely today, large hail, damaging winds, and unfortunately, more tornadoes. and the big heads up goes to everyone from indianapolis, the areas in red, to louisville, st. louis, paducah, springfield, little rock. you all have the possibility of being in line for some very strong storms with tornadoes late today and into tonight. and on the heels of our deadly tornado outbreak last weekend, you want to make sure you and your family knows where to go and be safe in case those storms head your way. we're also already watching very strong storms on interstate 70 between jefferson city and columbia. those will head up to springfield this morning. on top of all this, we have a snowstorm to deal with.
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green bay to minneapolis, you're going to be shoveling snow tomorrow morning. it's a bad day for travel. i guess the headline is the possibility for more strong tornadoes late this afternoon and tonight. >> an incredible series of tornadoes. >> we're going to go through another severe weather outbreak on friday. >> bill, thanks so much. let's turn to sports. the late game in the nba playoffs, pacers looking to draw even in game two. the number one seed in the east, bulls, derrick rose. boy, he's good. steal and a jam on the break. pacers lead by five. final seconds of the third quarter, t.j. ford, how about that, from across half-court, ties the game at 67 of the oh, my gosh. then derrick rose, a little crossover, breaks some ankles. then an impossible floater and the foul. he would complete the three-point play, one-point lead. with a minute to go, the bulls seal it. kyle korver, a three-pointer. chicago wins 96-90 behind derrick rose, take a 2-0 lead.
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heat. dwyane wade in the starting lineup. wasn't sure he was going to play because of headaches. but he did. wade goes for the steal and the dunk. second quarter, it starts to get ugly. mario chalmers, most people wouldn't be able to dunk it. you'd be lucky to catch it. lebron puts it down. miami up 18 at the half. lebron a little fadeaway as the shot clock winds down. and one. the heat crush the sixers. they're up 2-1 in that series. kenyan national geoffrey mutai blazed his way across the finish line of the boston marathon in 2:03:02. it's the fastest anyone has ever finished the race. he may have had a little help from the 16 mile an hour winds at his back. ryan hall ran the fastest boston marathon ever for an american, finishing two minutes later in
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fourth place. in a bizarre story on the front page in cincinnati today, reds starting pitcher mike leake arrested before yesterday's game for shoplifting at a downtown department store, accused of trying to steal six shirts for a total of $60. those are reasonably priced shirts. the 23-year-old wouldn't comment on the arrest but apologized in a statement to the family, his club, and the fans. leake, 2-0 as a starter, makes $425,000 in his second season in the majors. coming up, the s&p fires a warning shot to the united states as president obama readies a town hall tour about his plan to cut the deficit. when we come back here, we'll huddle up around the water cooler, where this guy may have the smoothest moves of any elected official on earth. that's a guy running for office, everybody. we'll tell you who he is when we come back. [ male announcer ] 100 crisps in every can.
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as we've been talking about this morning, standard & poor's has put the u.s. on notice. get your fiscal house in order or risk a potential downgrade to this country's aaa credit rating. what exactly does that credit rating mean when it comes to the country's finances? if you want to sound smart today, tell your friends a credit rating is s&p's opinion
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on the ability or willingness of an issuer, such as a government, to meet its financial obligations in full and on time. united states' current rating is aaa, which is the highest possible given by s&p. enough of the real news, let's huddle up around the water cooler and talk about this "three cups of tea" thing. did you see the "60 minutes" piece on sunday night. if not, bottom line. this is the huge book written by greg mortensemortensen, sold mo 50 million copies. every book club on the face of the earth has read it. "60 minutes" said portions of the book are fabricated, including the inspiration for mortensen to build these schools, the story that led up to it. and criticism of how the charity is set up and the money managed. the money raised for this group and supposed to build schools is going to mortensen's book tour and the like. fellow author john krakauer, author of "into thin air" and
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others said he supported mortensen. >> i have spoken to his friends who hiked out to k2 with him. greg never heard of it until a year later. if you go back and read the first few chapters of this book, you realize, i'm being taken for a ride here. it's a beautiful story, and it's a lie. >> jan krakauer talking about mortensen in the beginning of the story that led to these books. mortensen has replied to the "60 minutes piece." he sent out an e-mail to supporters. "a distorted picture using inaccurate information, innuendo, and a microscopic focus on one year's irs financials and a few points in the book "three cups of tea" that occurred almost 18 years ago. here's a statement to "outside" magazine written separately. david and i collaborated. that's his ghostwriter. he did nearly all the writing. what happens then is, when you re-create the scenes, you have
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my recollections, the different memories of those involved, you have his writing, and sometimes things come out different. there were omissions and compressions. there are discrepancies that, again, have to do with compression of events. the publish letter said it's going to go back, look at the story, and challenge mortensen on some of the facts. let's watch conan from last night. apparently, one of his viewers took exception to something conan said on the show and made him issue a correction. well, somebody else popped up last night demanding another correction. >> i've just been told we've gotten yet another fan correction challenge, and it's from someone who -- well, what's the name? it's from someone named will. let's check it out. >> hey, conan, my name is will. i found an error, and the error that i found is your beard. that thing's a huge mistake. i'm going to come there and fix it myself. yeah, it's coming off on may
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2nd. circle the date on your calendar because i'm circling your face like a vulture who eats hair. i am serious. beardly serious. yeah. it's coming off. [ bleep ] >> it's coming off may 2nd, when will ferrell visits conan. one more for you. we had to show you this. president bush started the dancing with his jig in 2008. who doesn't remember that one? that was a good one. a romanian politician has taken it to the next level. here he is on a romanian talk show. this is a politician, a guy who holds the office in romania, dancing to "bad." let's listen in. ♪ ♪ >> i got to say, pretty good. i have to vote for that guy.
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next time i'm in romania. still ahead on "way too early." why are you awake? your spirited texts and e-mails. "morning joe" minutes away. how are you getting to a happier place? running there? dancing there? how about eating soup to get there? campbell's soups fill you with good nutrition, farm-grown ingredients, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. ♪ na, na-na, na
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